A nation gives thanks to the Queen as Yorkshire families join queue to pay their respects
This is thanks, for a duty spent. And wonder, at one sovereign's rule. And as each step takes us closer still, to the ending of an era.
The queue grows, hour by hour, and yet more still join its ranks. As darkness falls, and a new day dawns, it inches slowly forward.
For that one moment, with tired heads bowed, to say 'thank you, ma'am'. To pay respect. To play witness to history as the shifting ripples of change give way to a sweeping tide.
The Queen was "my monarch, my colonel in chief", as one man simply said. To others she was their constant. A pillar of calm in hailstorm rains; their symbol of strength in a storm.
And so they came and queued and they waited their turn: to give thanks, one last time, for her reign.
Some were prepared, wrapped up against the autumn chill. Others, in mourning clothes, wore a traditional black suit. Then with shining medals, and tipped berets, the former armed forces personnel.
One man donned a bowler hat, with pinstriped suit and a furled umbrella, transported through time back to George VI in 1952.
And then with pride and patience they pay their respects; to their Queen and her steadfast reign.
Father Peter Walters and Pauline Allan, from Yorkshire, joined the queue at Westminster Hall at 1.20am yesterday morning.
Now working as a priest in Columbia, Father Walters said it was "immensely" worth the wait.
"There was a wonderful atmosphere, people were talking to one another quietly, sharing with one another, and there was even some laughter," he said.
"The atmosphere in there was one of of absolute silence, great reverence, great respect and great reflection. It was really a very memorable experience.
"Everyone had the chance to pause - despite the queues, there was no great sense of rush."
From Westminster Hall to the Queen's coffin it took two hours. Then from Blackfriars, moving steadily to Waterloo Bridge, picking up pace past the London Eye.
Then at Lambeth Bridge the real queuing began, weaving back and forth over the Thames for two more hours.
As the muscle aches set in, morale began to flag, and reliable Scouts passed by to collect discarded food, redistributing it down the line.
Early conversations had focused on work, hobbies and, later on, the ache of standing for so many hours. Mostly though, people talked about the monarchy.
Some came to be part of history, to see a once-in-many-generations event, while others felt drawn by some undefinable connection to the Queen.
Despite being "not really a royalist", 70-year-old Andrew Halas said he felt "somehow, indelibly, she has made a connection with people of my generation".
Monica Thorpe, from West Sussex, walked two hours from Westminster to reach the end of the line.
She said: "How can you not come? She is the most gracious rock we've had.”
But then once inside, the talking stopped, as an eerie hush enveloped the hall.
This vast Norman space is dominated by the Queen's coffin, draped in the Royal Standard and surrounded by guards.
Still as waxworks, until a sharp tap to signal the sudden Changing of the Guard.
The mourners begin filing past again, each paying respect in their own way. Some bow or curtsey, some pray, some shed tears.
But at the end, as they leave Westminster Hall, most take one final look back at the coffin, a last glimpse of our longest reigning monarch.
Michael Rhodes travelled down from Leeds with his wife, nephew and his nephew's wife.
They arrived at Westminster Hall at 6.30am, having queued for eight-and-a-half hours.
Joining a silent throng several miles from their destination it was just as well, he said, that he was no expert in the city's anatomy.
They had no idea how far this journey was to take them.
Mr Rhodes said: "The line moved at a snails pace passing some of the capital’s greatest landmarks. St Paul’s floodlit was magnificent."
But he added: "The scene in Westminster Hall was so special and so well worth the wait."